Ella and I just got back from our second family vacation at Universal Studios so I’m sharing all my tips so that you can have an amazing Universal Studios Family Vacation of your own! Today, I’m sharing my Universal Studios Packing List for Families so your trip can be smooth and easy.
What to Bring to Universal Studios
For the most part, Universal Studios is a pretty straightforward theme park when it comes to what you want to pack.
However, the Florida sun and heat, and also Universal’s ride admissions may be different than what you’re used to at your local amusement parks. (For example, all possessions must be stored in lockers during rides and your paper ticket must be presented at each ride.)
I’ve provided a free printable packing list at the bottom of this post to make your packing even easier.
Today, I’m taking the guesswork out of packing so that you can confidently know what to bring with you and what can stay at home. If there is anything I don’t cover in this post, please leave me a comment letting me know and I will get back to you and correct the post ASAP.
What to Bring With You to the Park
Good quality bag – it doesn’t need to be a backpack, but make sure that the bag you plan to carry at the parks can fit everything you plan to bring comfortably – and has a bit of extra room for things that you pick up throughout the day.
Comfortable Shoes – I don’t find Universal super stroller friendly, so all members of the family need to be prepared to walk
Reusable Water bottle – there are water fountains throughout the park and you can ask most drink places for cups of ice water
Wet wipes/hand sanitizer – also great for melted food messes
Ponchos – I tend to stock up on the disposable ones but if you can invest in one that folds up well, that would be much more eco-friendly and stylish!
Plastic Zip Top Bags – these are great for storing snacks to finish later. They are also great for popping your phone in during a sudden downpour
Portable Phone Charger – don’t be slowed down looking for outlets to charge
Sunscreen/Sunglasses – you are spending the day outside, protect your skin. Re-apply more often than you think you need to.
Autograph book – this is not as big of a thing as it is at Disney and not all characters can sign, so this is optional
M&M Minis Container full of pennies and quarters – for the pressed penny machines, of course!
Mini hair brush – my daughter’s fine hair gets tangly and wild in minutes, so a portable hair brush is perfect for touch-ups before pictures or for putty hair up when the weather is too sticky hot
Missing Child Finder – yes, it’s our worst nightmare but preparing for it can mean the difference between a quick search and a scary one. There are so many ideas out there – popping a Tile in their back pocket, making bracelets with your phone number on them, etc.
Camera – along with an extra battery and SD card (or just use your cell phone camera)
Card Holding Lanyard – you will need your park pass often, so just have it around your neck for ease (especially if you get the Express Pass)
Gorilla Pod-style tripods or a Selfie Stick
Cash or credit cards (if staying on property, you can use your room key to charge your room, but I was often asked for ID to do that)
Stain remover stick – if it’s going to bother you when the kids drop ice cream or food on their clothes before pictures, this needs to be in your bag (personally, I just think that’s what photoshop is for!)
Little surprises – glow sticks, bubbles and small treats can help keep kids happy during long waits and also reduces requests for the various merchandise the park will have on full display
Light change of clothes – Universal’s hotels are super close to the parks, and kids can get soaked at Curious George’s Splash Zone – use your judgement to decide if you want to dedicate backpack space to a change of clothes
Hand-held fan – this combined with our misting water bottle helps keep her cool and happy at the parks.
Absorbent cooling towel – this one was a lifesaver on a recent humid trip. It helps you cool down but stay dry – a better option than the fan so you can stay hands-free
What to Pack in Your Suitcase (and Leave at the Hotel)
Second pair of shoes – in case your shoes get wet, etc.
Medications – also throw in some bandaids, just in case
Park-themed clothing – most people dress casually for Universal, but some kids will get dressed up for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so plan accordingly
Sweaters – depending on the length of your trip and time of year, one or two sweaters per person is plenty. We typically only need them in the evenings, so they only get worn for a couple hours a day.
One to two extra outfits per person
Swimsuits and swim cover-ups – if you plan on swimming every day, pack two each so you’re not pulling on a cold, wet bathing suit. Also, bring arm floaties, goggles, ear plugs, as needed.
A couple sets of pyjamas – don’t judge, but we don’t wear fresh pj’s each night, especially on vacations where we are showering/bathing every night.
All travel documents – printed tickets, hotel confirmations, rental car info, etc.
Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrushes, skincare products (while I usually do a regimen, I like having make-up cleansing wipes on super tiring days), deodorant, lip balm, make-up, hair brush and products/stylers, razers, insect repellant, etc.
Activities for the hotel room – these are usually in our carry-on backpack. Books, tablet with headphones, pipe cleaners, journal, markers, etc.
Camera battery charger, cell phone charger, etc.
Snacks or breakfast items – we love bringing instant oatmeal, “hotel cereal” (the mini boxes of sugary cereal she never gets at home), and healthy snacks for bringing to the parks or pool. Bring some disposable spoons and bowls, or easily washable ones along with a small container of dish soap.
Aloe gel or cream – just in case you get too much sun, this is irreplaceable (check out my homemade version here)
If you’re not ready to print just yet, be sure to pin this post for your future vacation packing!
For more great resources planning your family’s Universal Orlando vacation, check out our entire Universal Orlando section – or start with our Everything You Need to Know About Universal Studios with Young Kids.